The Nats weren’t supposed to have a commanding lead over the consensus best team in baseball in the Fall Classic. They weren’t supposed to slay their playoff demons. They weren’t even supposed to be taking part in the postseason after their horrendous start.
Now, the Nationals are just two wins away from the first World Series title in franchise history and the first title for D.C. baseball since 1924, almost a century ago now.
The nation’s capital is ready to blow the hypothetical roof off of the ballpark on Friday.
Nationals Park has held watch parties for big road games during the postseason, but during the last two games with the team in Houston, the park has been absolutely rocking.
According to Jim Lokay of FOX, there were 14,500 title-hungry Nats fans packed into the ballpark on Wednesday, just 100 shy of the lowest regular-season crowd at Nationals Park this season. They were all the way up the first and third base lines watching the game.
Baby Shark was even played over the PA when Gerardo Parra pinch-hit late in the contest.
During this incredible run, it feels like the city has fallen in love with the team all over again.
“It’s been overwhelming.” manager Dave Martinez said of the atmosphere around Washington. “The fans have bought in and it’s been great. And I know apparently yesterday almost 15,000 people here watching us play.”
The watch parties are no substitute for the real thing though. In a matter of hours, fans will be lining Half Street ready for the first World Series game in the nation’s capital in 86 years.
“I can’t wait until tomorrow,” Martinez said yesterday. “This place -- I said it before, this place gets really loud and it’s electric. So I know the boys are excited to play.”
Excited might be an understatement given how the Nationals fans have bought it during the team’s run through October so far.
“They’ve been unbelievable this whole postseason so far,” Trea Turner said of the fans to NBC Sports Washington. “I expect a sellout and people going nuts.
“I think one game we had a beer-shower, which was pretty incredible to watch, so hopefully they can be rocking and we’re excited to play in front of them.”
Sometimes in sports, people say that you have to experience the lows to truly appreciate the highs. Though the regular season has brought plenty of highs, the postseason has had more than its share of lows for the Nationals, which makes this weekend all the more special.
Ryan Zimmerman has lived all of those October lows with the fans. Though he’s trying to keep his emotions in check given the task at hand, he knows exactly how the fans feel.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Zimmerman told reporters after Game 2. “I think they’ve (Nats fans) been great all postseason and every postseason really.
“I’m sure they’re more excited than we are, honestly. They’ve been waiting for something like this, so, obviously, really excited to see what the atmosphere is like and can’t wait to get there.”
Game 2 hero, Kurt Suzuki, was also with the Nationals the first time the team made the postseason since the move from Montreal. Just like Zimmerman, he’s expecting an electric atmosphere from the home crowd too, just like they have been the rest of the postseason.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Suzuki told FOX after the game. “Those fans have been with us all year. They’ve been with us through the hard times, the good times, and it feels so good to be able to go back and play in the World Series for these fans.
“They were rocking this whole postseason and we don’t expect nothing less. We’re excited.”
D.C. has already had a preview of the scenes that a seven-game series for a championship can bring when the Washington Capitals went to the Stanley Cup Final just under 18 months ago.
The streets outside Capital One Arena were packed out with fans watching on big screens for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup as the Caps clinched in Las Vegas. The World Series is bound to bring similar crowds outside Nationals Park with a clinch entirely possible this weekend.
If the Nationals can go 1-0 on two more days in the next week, they will be World Series Champions. I hope you’re rested up D.C. because it’s time for you to get loud this evening.